NBA 2K11 has had full stereoscopic 3D since before Thanksgiving, when 2K Sports gave Best Buy the retail-exclusive rights to a 3D SKU of the basketball game. On January 16, NBA 2K11 will have its 3D version available everywhere — and for free.
The 3D update for NBA 2K11 will be completely free via PSN for all PlayStation 3. The catch, as with all stereoscopic 3D content right now, is that it requires PS3 users to have a 3D TV. We say “right now” because Vizio and other 3D TV manufacturers are exploring a glasses-free 3D TV.
To get the NBA 2K11 3D update, simply pop the game into the PS3 and it will automatically update. The update will also include some gameplay tweaks, including some online multiplayer updates.
Even after downloading the update, NBA 2K11 will not automatically default to 3D, so gamers who don’t own a 3D TV don’t have to stress about the auto download. Once the NBA 2K11 3D update has been downloaded, simply turn on your TV’s 3D capabilities, grab a set of the active shutter glasses and experience the NBA video game in the third dimension. Unless you turn on the 3D function on the TV, however, the game won’t be displayed in stereoscopic 3D.
So how did the development team at Visual Concepts pull off the 3D? Glad you asked; the PlayStation Blog got this insight from them:
All 3D effects come down to one simple idea: make each of a viewer’s eyes see a slightly different image and you can create the illusion of depth on a 2D screen. Technology to create 3D movies evolved from two-color images, called anaglyphs, into the more modern projection systems that use differently polarized light. Most of the new 3D televisions use a technique called “alternate-frame sequencing” in which they first display the image for one eye and then display the image for the other eye, holding each image on the screen for 1/120th of a second. To make sure viewers see the correct images with each eye, glasses that cover-up one eye in exact synchronization with the television display, called active-shutter glasses, are used. What’s most exciting about the new technology is the quality of the images it produces. The new generation of active-shutter HDTVs let us make a 3D game using full resolution HDTV images at framerates up to 120Hz
To properly drive one of these televisions, NBA 2K11 must create two separate images every game frame-one for each eye. We create a virtual stereoscopic (two-eyed) camera and render the whole scene in full HD resolution twice, once for each eye of the camera. These two images are packaged together and delivered to the television as one “frame” which the television decodes and displays as two consecutive images, one for each eye of the viewer. Just in case anyone has a pair of the old-school [red-and-blue] 3D glasses lying around, NBA 2K11 will render using the anaglyph method as well.
So grab that 3D update for NBA 2K11 this Sunday and enjoy.